5/14/2008

Financial Times: EBRD looks at expansion to Turkey

Financial Times - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considering extending its activities to Turkey in a move that would see the development institution operate outside the former communist countries for the first time. The bank's board agreed on Friday to start a formal evaluation of a Turkish bid for access to the EBRD's funds and expertise, and prepare for a final decision by the end of October. The move comes amid signs the US is dropping its long-standing opposition to expanding the EBRD's remit beyond the ex-communist states of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Washington, which is the biggest EBRD shareholder with 10 percent of the vote, had argued that the London-based bank should stick to its original role and close down once the transition from communism to market economics was completed. American officials said general global development work was best done by the US-based World Bank and its affiliates. However, the US appears ready to back down in the face of strong support for Turkey from European Union states, which hold 60 percent of the EBRD's shares, and from Japan.

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